Claudette's Specialties: Female and Male Hormonal Imbalances, PMS, Period Pain, Fibroids, Polycystic Ovaries/Syndrome, Endometriosis, Menopause, Prostate Problems, Low Libido, Natural Fertility Management: Contraception, Overcoming Infertility Problems (females and males), Preconception Care, Sex Selection, IVF support, Pregnancy Care: Pregnancy nutrition and remedies, Miscarriage support, Birth preparation, Doula: Childbirth support, Post-natal care for mother and child.

Warding Off Winter Colds and 'Flus

Winter is definitely here and now is the time to get focused on your health so as to keep that spring in your step and smile on your face. With shorter winter days and the drop in temperature, there is every good reason to laze around and snuggle up with winter comfort foods. As important as it is to listen to our natural rhythms of the body during these cold winter months, it is also essential to nourish the body so it doesn't start lacking in vital nutrients and succumbing to colds and 'flus. When my nose started to run this week, I knew it was time to promptly put all my own advice into action!

Prevention is Better Than Cure

  • Winter is the time for root vegetables, hearty casseroles, soups, porridge, bone broths and stews so pull out your slow cooker to create a feast for the week. Pile in your vegetables of every colour, protein of choice whether it be beef, chicken, fish, beans or lamb and lots of herbs and spices for a nutritious, tantalizing meal. 
  • Cut back on all sugar whether it be the sugar you add to your tea or coffee, soft drinks or energy drinks, sweets, lollies, ice cream, alcohol and chocolate bars. Sugar suppresses your immune system and all viruses and bacteria feed off sugar. Hydrate your body with a hot cup of soup or herbal tea instead!
  • Although the wind chill factor can be high, grab your beanie and get outside in the warm sun for a walk. Vitamin D exposure is essential for proper immune function and to lift your mood. 
  • Regular moderate exercise keeps your metabolism boosted. However, avoid pushing it to extremes as too much cardio exercise can tax your immune system at this time. 
  • Echinacea is a herb that boosts the first line defence of your immune system so taking an Echinacea supplement throughout winter gives your immunity an edge. There are different species of Echinacea: E. augustifolia root is the most potent species, E. purpura is the most common, while E. pallida has no therapeutic value. Echinacea tea is virtually useless as the therapeutic compounds you need are not extracted by water alone.
  • I also recommend 1 tsp of Vitamin C powder each day or a hot lemon and ginger drink every morning. Vitamin C combined with a little Zinc and Vitamin A is even better.
  • Swap your daily coffee for a freshly squeezed orange juice or carrot and ginger juice from your local juice bar or vegetable shop. Bottled juices have lost any therapeutic benefit in the bottling process so eat your fruit instead.  
  • Keep warm. As simple as this may sound, keeping your kidneys and your chest warm ensures that vital body energy and heat is not lost and catches a chill. Grab a scarf and wind a sarong around your mid-riff for extra warmth.
  • Create a positive outlook on life! Expecting the best and converting problems into opportunities is a life skill that can be learned by everyone and has been shown to raise the immune system.

Remedies to the Rescue

  • Gargle with salt and water, chew fresh ginger slices, sip on hot water and fresh lemon juice. Unfortunately the squidgy bottle of lemon juice you buy in the supermarket has lost its potent vitamin C content - add lemons to your shopping list or grow a lemon tree!
  • Shake a few drops of Eucalyptus essential oil or Tea Tree oil in your morning shower, a hot bath, or oil burner to clear your nose, head and chest.
  • Eat as much onions, garlic and horseradish as others can tolerate from you! These vegetables are naturally antibiotic. To disguise the taste and make an effective cough syrup, slice an onion and pour 1 Tb of raw honey over it. Keep it in the fridge in an airtight container and in 24 hrs you have a sweet antibiotic syrup. One teaspoon of the liquid syrup helps kill any germs!
  • If your chest, nose or sinuses are clogged up or you suffer from allergies or asthma, reduce dairy, especially milk, as it will only create more mucous.
  • Chicken and vegetable soup. Revered in many cultures for thousands of years, chicken soup works wonders as the convalescent food to fortify the body and immune system. Make a big pot and take it in a thermos or lunch box to work for lunch or simply heat some up when you get home from work each night. 
  • Sleep is when the body repairs itself and can channel its resources into fighting infection so sometimes we have to go home, turn off the mobile and go to bed. Allowing our bodies to rest and heal is an age old prescription that most people ignore or override by throwing back a few cold and 'flu tablets to keep working but eventually it catches up with everyone. Winter is the time when our body naturally wants to hibernate so if you can feel the onslaught coming, an early mark for much needed sleep is better than a week or two of a full blown 'flu or chesty cough and succumbing to antibiotics. 
There are now clinical trials demonstrating the positive effect of herbal medicines on the immune system by increasing Natural Killer cells, phagocytes, lymphocytes and interferons as well as demonstrating anti-viral activity. My own magic mixes usually include Echinacea, Andrographis, Thyme, Astragalus, Reishi & Shiitaki mushrooms. See your qualified naturopath or herbalist as products vary enormously in quality so you don't waste your money or your health.

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